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'Minyipuru' by Jakayu Biljabu, 2008

Object type

Object number

A textured dot painting on canvas with a curve of white concentric U shapes flowing from the lower left corner to the top right with a dotted background of pink, purple, yellow, red and green. In the top left are 17 variously sized oval-shaped concentric rings close together with yellow and green dots around them. The bottom right has a purple curved line with three green circles with orange, red and brown borders below it. In the lower central area there are circles in green with dotted orange centres and yellow circles with brown edges connected by lines on a background of cream, orange, yellow and brown dots. The top edge of the painting has text which reads 'JAKAYU BILJIBU" while the bottom edge has "182 x 122".

This painting describes the journey of the Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) while they were still travelling as a large group of sisters and their mothers. The white U-shapes represent them as they flew close to Parnngurr, where women's law tells that an important event took place. Afterwards, they flew on to Kalypa (well 23 on the Canning Stock Route). The dance for this site is performed by both men and women. Jakayu is a senior Martu custodian for this Jukurrpa.

General Information:

In Aboriginal cultures across Australia, and in other cultures around the world, the Pleiades star cluster is associated with the story of the Seven Sisters. Minyipuru Jukurrpa is the Martu version of this story. When Martumili Artists was established in 2005, this was the first Dreaming story the Martu women agreed to paint for a broader public.

The Minyipuru began their journey from Roebourne in Western Australia as a big group of sisters and their mothers. At various places along the way, they lost members of their party until eventually only seven sisters remained. At Kalypa (well 23) the Minyipuru met a group of Jukurrpa men; it was the first time either group had seen members of the opposite sex. The men tried to grab the women, but the Minyipuru chased them, hitting them with their digging sticks and leaving them lying there. At Pangkapini the sisters met Yurla, an old man who had followed them from Roebourne. Yurla grabbed one of the women at Pangkapini, but her sisters tricked him and managed to rescue her. At another site further east, he tried to catch five of the sisters, but again they escaped, flying on to Marapinti (near Kiwirkurra).

Collection name
Canning Stock Route collection

Collection statement of significance
The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

Jakayu Biljabu

Production place
Punmu, Western Australia, Australia

Production date

Associated organisation
Martumili Artists
Art centre

Associated place
Canning Stock Route, , Australia

Canvas, Acrylic paint

Width: 1210mm
Height: 1870mm
Depth: 32mm

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